Module details for Forensic Chromatography and Spectroscopy


To further understand the theoretical basis for chromatography and to use spectroscopic techniques to identify organic compounds 


The aim of this Module is to enable the student to understand and apply the theory and practicalities behind chromatographic techniques used in forensic science and to use spectroscopic techniques to identify unknown organic compounds. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Describe the theory of and techniques used to separate organic components 

2.  Explain how separation techniques are used in analytical sciences in a qualitative and quantitative manner.

3.  Explain the theory, techniques and instrumentation used in the generation of spectroscopic data.

4.  Analyse spectroscopic data to obtain plausible structures for unknown organic compounds.

Indicative Content

1 Chromatography

Methods of separation; paper chromatography; column chromatography; chromatograms-integration, calibration, response factors; HPLC; GC; GC-MS; LC-MS.  Thermodynamic and kinetic principles of separation.

2 Spectroscopy

Near Infrared spectroscopy; Mid Infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance; mass spectrometry; uv-vis spectroscopy. 

3 Problem Solving

Use of a range of spectroscopic data to provide rational structures for selected organic compounds. Forensic Science related case studies, such as the analysis and identification of fire accelerants or drugs of abuse. 

4 Laboratory Techniques

Carry out a range of separation and spectroscopic techniques in the laboratory on forensic related samples. 

5 Sampling strategies and practices

Coning and quartering, minimum sample sizes, recommended practices relating to sample types.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Practical Activity 15
Assessment 50
Independent 99
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.